This week a delegation of 28 representatives of every cross-section of our community will travel to Tampa to represent New Haven in the All America City competition. The last time we participated in this program was in 2003 when we brought home our third AAC title. This year, with your support, we look forward to coming back with a fourth title further confirming what a strong, united and innovative City we are. The competition requires that successful cities demonstrate how homegrown programs provide solutions for community challenges and needs. We are very proud to showcase the following three programs this year:
CitySeed works to overcome the challenges urban residents encounter in accessing local, healthy food. This program was born out of 4 neighbors interested in starting a producer-only farmers' market in their neighborhood, Wooster Square, where it was easy enough to find pizza and pasta, but next to impossible to locate a fresh tomato, never mind one grown locally.
Through diverse approaches, CitySeed operates on the foundation of farm viability as a way of promoting an equitable, local food system, a hallmark of which is increased access to local, healthy food for residents of all economic situations.
There is something democratizing about purchasing food. After all, we all must eat. CitySeed creates public spaces where every community member, regardless of gender, race, political persuasion, or socioeconomic status, can engage. It is difficult to identify another community project capable of attracting such a wide cross-section of people on such a regular basis.
The Elm City Resident Card program
To address the challenge of community integration posed by a large number of “undocumented” city residents, the City began issuing in July 2007, a municipal ID card, the “Elm City Resident Card”. To date, more than 5,600 cards have been issued.
The Elm City Resident Card serves as a photo ID and as a library card for use at the City’s five public library locations, which also gives card holders State-wide library access. The Card, which grants holders incentives and discounts from local merchants, also acts as a debit card for use at city parking meters, garages, stores, and it provides access to other City services, including the Recycling Center and residential access to the public beach and golf course. A separate children’s card gives parents the option of listing emergency contact information and allergies.
This week we recognize not only the one year anniversary of the Board of Aldermen vote that allowed us to launch this innovative program but we also remember the one year anniversary of the ICE raids that so impacted our community a year ago this Wednesday. A remembrance event will take place at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church this week.
Street Outreach Workers Program in collaboration with CTRIBAT
The Street Outreach Worker (SOWP) Program is a grassroots-based initiative that has reduced youth violence. Run by a non-profit, the program employs outreach workers who have had personal experiences with youth violence. They teach life skills and serve as mentors to teens and young adults who have been identified as most at risk of, or engaged in, drug related crimes, fights, gang violence or gun possession. The Street Outreach Workers have accomplished the following:
*mediated potentially violent situations;
*prevented retaliation, offering nonviolent solutions;
*mediated tension between the police and the urban community;
*supported teens and young adults, helping them to identify their strengths and guiding them as they find solutions to their problems;
*established a network of social service referrals to provide assistance
SOWP is proving an effective way to strengthen the resources of young people most at risk, while also driving down crime.
CTRIBAT, (Children and Teens Retreat), formed in 2003 in the Dixwell Avenue area by two police officers who were looking for constructive ways to stem increasing youth violence. They noticed a correlation between increased numbers of youth congregating at the Dixwell Shopping Plaza and street corners and escalating complaints about criminal activity from residents, visitors, business owners, employees, and community leaders.
Last Saturday, at the Wooster Square CitySeed Market, the delegation performed, for the New Haven community, the 10-mnute sketch they will present to the AAC judges. This dramatic presentation was directed by Vanessa Soto of Bregamos Theater and includes representatives of: CitySeed, Street Outreach Workers Program, CTRIBAT, JUNTA for Progressive Action, Town Green Special Services District, New Haven Public Schools, Yale University, community musicians and City Hall.
The competition begins Tuesday of this week with winners announced at a ceremony on Friday evening. We look forward to making you proud in this competition. Regardless of the outcome in Tampa, we are thrilled to be one of 17 finalists and to have the opportunity to share with the nation some of the great things that makes New Haven so special.
8TH ANNUAL LIGHTHOUSE PARK COMMUNITY EVENT EDUCATES FAMILIES ABOUT LEAD POISONING PREVENTION WITH ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES
The New Haven Health Department's Bureau of Environmental Health and the Yale-New Haven Lead Program will host the 8th Annual Lead Awareness Picnic in the Lighthouse Park Carousel Building on Sunday, June 8. This interactive community event aims to educate local families about childhood lead poisoning prevention through discussion, educational giveaways and entertainment. Paul Kowalski, New Haven Health Department’s environmental health director, will join representatives from the Health Department, the Yale-New Haven Lead Program, other service agencies and local entertainers in providing lead poisoning prevention information designed to teach parents and children how to reduce the risks of this serious and preventable illness.
WHEN: Sunday, June 8, 2008
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Health Department staff will be onsite to answer questions. Educational materials, giveaways and refreshments will be available.
WHERE: Carousel Pavilion at Lighthouse Park
New Haven, CT
Have a happy and healthy week!
Very truly yours,
John DeStefano, Jr.